The movie and TV community has lost another one of its beloved stars over the holiday weekend, with Noel Neill, the first actress ever to play Lois Lane, passing away at the age of 95, in Tuscon, Arizona. Her manager and biographer Larry Ward confirmed the actress' death through Facebook last night. Here's what he had to say in a statement below.
"Noel truly was Lois Lane, and for many of us, she was the first working woman seen on television. Few of her fans actually knew her real name, almost always simply calling her "Lois" to which she would unfailing answer with a bright smile and a kind word. It was more than a role to her."
Variety reports that Noel Neill was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and that she originally wanted to be a journalist like her father, who was the editor of a local newspaper. In 1940, she was hired by actor Bing Crosby to sing at the Turf Club, located inside a Del Mar, California race track, which Bing Crosby was a co-owner of. In 1941, she signed a contract with Paramount Pictures, and she hosted and performed on several experimental programs that aired locally in Los Angeles throughout the 1940s. She also appeared in a number of film and TV westerns for iconic directors such as Vincent Minnelli, Cecil B. DeMille and Hal Roach.
In 1948, Noel Neill signed on to play Lois Lane for the first time in the four-hour serial Superman starring alongside Kirk Alyn as the Man of Steel. She went on to reprise that iconic role in 1950's Atom Man vs. Superman before she was cast as Lois Lane a third time in the 1953 TV series Adventures of Superman. She replaced Phyllis Coates when that actress left the show after being offered a role in a different series. Noel Neill went on to appear in 78 episodes through the show's six season run, between 1953 and 1958.
While the actress retired from acting after the series ended, she did come back for an uncredited role as Ella Lane in Richard Donner's 1978 classic Superman, while voicing Alexis in a 1991 episode of the animated series Superboy. She also had a brief appearance as Gertrude Vanderworth in Bryan Singer's 2006 movie Superman Returns. A statue of the actress as Lois Lane was dedicated to her in Metropolis, Illinois in 2010.